Mound donates used fire gear

Every five years, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) sets new equipment standards for all fire departments in the United States every five years. This means, every five years, fire departments are budgeting for new equipment and getting rid of equipment that’s been outdated. Generally, that equipment ends up in a landfill.

This year, the Mound Fire Department’s outdated gear made it’s way to Columbia in overstuffed duffle bags on the backs of local missionaries.

“We donated about eight full sets of gear and some other pieces,” Mound Fire Chief Greg Pederson said. “We either gave them away to people who could use them, or we throw them away.”

Dean Mooney was police chief for the former Mound Police Department before they merged with Orono police. He approached Pederson about taking old equipment off their hands before he went down to Caucasia, Columbia to help build recording studios with his church.

“He asked if we had excess helmets or boots or bunker jackets,” Pederson said. “At the time, we had just replaced all 40 firefighters gear to get up to our current standards, so we boxed up the pieces that were still functional. The firefighters thought it was really cool.”

Pederson estimated that each set of turnout gear costs around $2,500, with helmets and boots coming in around $250 and $150 respectively. Each firefighter in the Mound Fire Department has two sets of gear, and now all of it is compliant. But that doesn’t mean the outdated gear isn’t useful, especially for places like the Caucasia Fire Department where their equipment consisted of plastic helmets, two fire hoses, a fire truck and an ambulance. Their emergency operation center is a tent.

Mooney took the gear with him to Columbia in May. He said he felt a calling to help the people of Caucasia as a part of the missionary group.

“It’s not just about spreading the bible to these people,” Mooney said. “You don’t ignore human needs, it’s about doing both.”

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